Thursday, July 18, 2013

Rewind: Naruto

Alright. It’s Thursday, and time to try something new. Each week, on Thursdays for now, I will sit down and blog about something from the past, most likely an anime. I’ll try not to spend more than fifteen or twenty minutes on it.

This summer marks the fourth year of anime fandom for me. On the one hand, four years isn’t a lot. Many of you have been watching anime since you were a kid. You started on Pokemon or Speed Racer or whatever was popular in your day. Or maybe you didn’t start until you were a teenager or in your college years, but you’re already over thirty, so you’ve still been watching much longer than me. 

On the other hand, four years is 20% of my life. In that time, I’ve spent over two months and three weeks in front of a screen, watching anime. I’ve completed 152 anime titles and tried at least 78 more. Yeah... those numbers include periods of unhealthy anime binging. They also include times with a little more balance. Either way, I should have enough to talk about for many Thursdays in the future.
Episode 1 of Naruto aired in 2002, when screens weren't
as wide and animation quality was different. So much
has changed since this memorable scene, for me and the
anime industry both!
Today, I want to remember the anime that started it all: Naruto. I’ve talked about it a lot, I know. But it’s only fitting that I spend a few minutes on this show in my first “Rewind” post. Nothing else will do.

Naruto is the show that introduced me to the excitement of anime. Its first OP takes me back to summer nights sitting on the kitchen counter, eating a snack and watching anime while my family slept. The song alone brings feelings of wonder and joy. 

I loved that the plot continued on between episodes. The only show I’d seen like that was Avatar the Last Airbender. I was delighted to find that the Japanese had done something American TV rarely did, spending tens and hundreds of episodes on a single story. 

Naruto was set in a very different world. The characters spoke a different language, and visual cues were often different than those in American animation. Yet it was still relatable.

I laughed. I sat on the edge of my seat in suspense. I cheered for Naruto and Team 7. I cringed every time Orochimaru came on the screen. I urged Sasuke to choose friends over revenge, and I rolled my eyes at Sakura’s antics. I found Naruto’s special “sexy jutsu” distasteful but fascinating, and his use of it to thwart older men somewhat entertaining. It’s not something I would have expected to see, that’s for sure. I didn’t understand the concept of fanservice yet, so this jutsu, like the “bouncier” women, was little more than an interesting character design. 

There were episodes that didn’t relate to the main plot, but I didn’t mind.  Even to the end of the first Naruto series, I was too enchanted by this “new” form of TV to care. The few faults I found were barely a blip on my radar.

I’ve already spent twice as long as I intended to on this blog post, so I’m cutting myself off now. My current plan is to write a "Rewind" post every Thursday for the foreseeable future. I've never put myself on a schedule like this before, so we'll see how I (and you) like it. 


  1. I think my first real anime (not counting Pokemon or DBZ) was .Hack//SIGN (which is great, BTW), though I have watched the original Naruto series.
    I don't think I ever put quite as much thought into it as you have; I just enjoyed watching it so I continued to do so ;)

    1. I still haven't watched .Hack//SIGN. I'm quite interested in it, though. Now that I've been exposed to more of the otaku world, the premise is even more intriguing than it was the first time it crossed my radar.
      Yeah, I didn't put much thought into Naruto when I first watched it. Now, I probably put too much thought into what I watch sometimes. I have to turn off the blogger in my head and tell myself to just watch and have fun. :)


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